It's always time for BurgerTime.
In 2020, there is no shortage of ways to play retro video games. Whether it's with micro-consoles from Nintendo and Sega, remastered re-releases, or RGB-modded consoles, there's never been a better time to enjoy the games of our past. However, when it comes to recreating our days in the local arcade, bringing old cabinets into your home can be an expensive, time-consuming hobby--not to mention the space you need to house them. Sure, you can play old arcade games on most modern platforms, but the feeling of competing for a high score just isn't the same on a DualShock 4. This is where Arcade1Up comes in, and for the past couple of years, the company has released 3/4-scale cabinets of some of video game's biggest classics, including Mortal Kombat, Rampage, and now, BurgerTime.
Arcade1Up's latest is a limited-edition BurgerTime cabinet, which also includes a number of other Data East classics: Karate Champ, Caveman Ninja, and Bad Dudes vs. Dragon Ninja. After building the cabinet--which is about as relaxing as building IKEA furniture--the unique shape of the BurgerTime machine is particularly striking. Arcade1Up did a good job in making BurgerTime feel like you're bringing the actual cabinet home. For the first time, the company has created panels that more closely resemble the original machine--nearly all of Arcade1Up's cabinets before this have shared the exact same physical design. BurgerTime's rounded panels give the cabinet more character, excellently paired with the panel art featuring Peter Pepper.
It's not an exact copy of the original cabinet's design, however. In fact, the Arcade1Up machine features more stylized curves than the original. This feels important in evoking the original, as the rest of the machine is like any other Arcade1Up cabinet. The original 1982 cabinet features a screen that's flush with the control board, asking the player to look downward at the screen. Arcade1Up's rendition will have you looking straight ahead, much like the rest of the company's line-up. And of course, Arcade1Up cabinets don't utilize CRT monitors, instead opting for modern flat screens. The Arcade1Up display looks great, but if you are looking for that exact original experience, it will be different than you remember.
Otherwise, Arcade1Up's BurgerTime cabinet is gorgeous. The colours are bright and emulate the original design, with a light-up marquee that makes the machine pop in a dimly-lit room. It's a beautiful cabinet, and thankfully, games are well-emulated to help make it a great experience.
Ported by Other Ocean Interactive--with assistance from Digital Eclipse, which is known for its excellent work on classic game compilations like Mega Man Legacy Collection and Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Edition--the games play, look, and sound great. The joysticks are responsive and feel sturdy, while the buttons are satisfying to click when you need to pepper a living sausage or kick a ninja. The control board includes two joysticks and two buttons per player, giving you everything you need to play each game the way they were made to be played--the dual joysticks are for use with Karate Champ, the game that kickstarted the fighting game genre as we know it today. It's a good selection of games, especially if you have a friend to enjoy them with.
Everything about Arcade1Up's BurgerTime cabinet works great. It's as simple as putting it together, plugging it in, and playing. The simplicity is also its downside, however. Arcade1Up's machines don't offer anything beyond the means of actually playing the games. There aren't any video options, sound settings, art galleries, or anything in between--something as simple as scanlines or a sound test would be appreciated. It's also important to note that there's no official way of obtaining new games for Arcade1Up's cabinets.
Arcade1Up makes excellent machines. The BurgerTime cabinet is exemplary of the company's dedication to create experiences that--while not exactly as they were back in the day--are roughly as good as you remember. But at the end of the day, the $399 price tag is a lot to ask for from most people. Arcade1Up's 3/4-scale cabinets are awesome machines, but they're only for those who are most passionate about the featured games. Thankfully, Arcade1Up treats those games with the respect they deserve, and anyone who cares about Data East's classic games will find a lot to love in the BurgerTime cabinet.
The BurgerTime cabinet is sold exclusively on Arcade1Up's website for $399, and it's only available for a limited time. If you order before January 31, you'll get guaranteed shipping by March 1.
Arcade1Up recently announced a series of smaller, more affordable products at CES 2020. These include classic micro-consoles and new plug-and-play systems for classic series like Mega Man, DuckTales, and Pac-Man. You can see all of the retro gaming hardware we loved at CES 2020 right here on GameSpot.